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Uber surge pricing during Sydney hostage crisis causes PR disaster

The week has barely started yet, but we can already crown the worst corporate tweet of the week. A crisis is taking place in Sydney, Australia as an armed man holds several people hostage in a Lindt café. The busy district is in a lock-down and mass evacuations created an increased demand for taxi services. So Uber, the taxi service app, quadrupled prices and at one point charged a minimum fare of AU$100. According to Quartz, this type of surge pricing is automatic but the tweet from @uber_sydney that followed was not.

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Of course, Uber was immediately slammed on Twitter for its cynic decision to charge a higher price during a crisis situation. Here are just a few reactions:

Uber soon had to backtrack to damage the PR disaster it had caused. A new tweet announced that rides out of Sydney now where free and that the company instead would refund passengers who had taken the expensive rides earlier this morning. A good move, but the damage to the company reputation had already been done.

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Posted in Crisis, PR, Twitter.

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Nissan’s brilliant Twitter response to #breaktheinternet

The web has been buzzing the last few days about Kim Kardashian’s rear end after it appeared on the cover of Paper magazine’s winter issue. Not surprisingly, some brands jumped on the bandwagon trying to not be left behind in the discussion. The practice of real-time marketing is a difficult one, butt one brand that really got to the bottom of the issue sent out a tweet to end the discussion.

Here’s Nissan’s first Twitter rear-time marketing effort.

Touché Nissan, or should I say, tush?

Posted in Case Studies, PR, Twitter.

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Instagram is wasting precious screen space with new look

Instagram continues to bring out new updates to its app every week now and the change I blogged about a few days ago has already been removed again. I love Instagram and I check the app several times per day. In the latest update there has been a change to the design of the activity feed.

The tab that used to be called “news” is now called “you” and for some time the notifications (likes, comments or follows) have been presented in a quite condensed feed. Images to the right had no white space between them. Before that, the images had rounded corners and also some white space between them. The latest look made it possible to squeeze in more notifications on the screen since each notification took up less space.

New look is wasting precious space
But as of yesterday, the feed has a new look again and the white space between images is back. That means that each notification takes up more space and that is not good. If you are a user with lots of interactions, you get loads of notifications and you don’t want unnecessary scrolling if you can avoid it. The new look is wasting precious screen space. Here’s the difference between the previous design and the new one.

Even on a smaller screen iPhone 4 to the left, you see more interactions than on the larger screen iPhone 5 to the left.

instagramfeed

I hope they will revert this change and go back to the previous look.

 

Posted in Marketing.

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Instagram adds suggested accounts in drop down menu

I’ve blogged about recent changes to Instagram and today I discovered another new addition to the popular app. Instagram is obviously adding improvements that will make it easier to follow new accounts. The one I just noticed is a drop down menu next to the follow button on a profile page. When you click on the arrow Instagram shows three suggested accounts to follow that are similar to the one you are watching. A clever little feature that probably will contribute to the growth of connections among accounts.

Instagram suggested followers

Follow me on Instagram at @kullin

Posted in Marketing.

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Time stamps are back on Instagram photos

Last week I blogged about a new follow button on Instagram photos which unfortunately meant that time stamps were removed from images under a specific hashtag or location.

Well, they weren’t missing for very long, because now time stamps are back. Now they are displayed under the images so that both the new follow button and the time stamp are visible. Although I won’t take any credit for this change, it was exactly what I expressed in my blog post.

Here you can see the same image now with the new time stamp and below the example from last week without the time stamp.

instagramparis

 

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Posted in Marketing.

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Instagram removes time stamps and here’s what I don’t like about it

Instagram has added a new follow button on images that you find when you search on a specific hashtag or location. This change has the potential to increase the number of accounts users follow because it removes a few steps. Now if you see an image you like you can instantly follow that account with one click as opposed to before when you had to click on the user profile in order to follow that account.

It’s a smart move but the downside of this change is that the follow button has replaced the time stamp (“Följ” is Follow in Swedish).

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I think the loss of the time stamp is bad for two reasons.

Hashtags on old photos
First of all, searching for images from a location or from different hashtags is a great way to discover new accounts to follow. But some people like to game the system and I don’t want to follow such accounts. Some people have a habit of deleting and adding hashtags to old photos just to get more likes and followers. And since Instagram displays images in reverse chronological order under hashtags, the images with the most recent hashtags are displayed first, even if they are a year old.

Previously you could instantly see if a photo was old, but now you can’t see the difference between an image that was uploaded 1o minutes ago and one that is 10 weeks old. Well, you can, but you have to click on the user profile and scroll through that person’s feed. In the feed, time stamps are still visible.

Photos in Instagram competitions
The second reason is that when brands arrange competitions on Instagram, there are almost always a time frame in which photos need to be uploaded to be eligable for a prize. If an image is uploaded after a certain time and date, it can’t win the competition. Previously you could see that immediately under a competition hashtag in Instagram, but now you can’t. You can still do this on sites like Iconosquare so it’s not a big problem.

The replacement of the time stamp is somewhat of a trade off. It removes a few steps in one place and adds them in another. I would have liked if Instagram could have kept it and still add the new follow button.

Follow med on Instagram: @kullin

Posted in Marketing.

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